By Andrew Tarling
Holiday Compensation Claims Manager
We are currently receiving reports of potential illness outbreaks at a number of popular all-inclusive hotels located within the Dominican Republic.
This may suggest that some of these popular hotels are struggling to cope with increased demand as UK based holidaymakers look for alternative holiday destinations following the well documented and high profile problems that have beset other popular holiday destinations such as Egypt and Tunisia.
In the past, Simpson Millar’s travel lawyers have successfully brought claims against major UK based tour operators such as Thomas Cook and TUI UK (the parent company of Thomson Holidays and First Choice Holidays) as a result of holidaymakers contracting bugs such as salmonella at large all-inclusive hotels in the Dominican Republic.
Causes of Illness in the Dominican Republic
According to the Lonely Planet, the Dominican Republic is reasonably safe so long as you are careful what you eat and drink. The publication states that the most common travel-related diseases in the Dominican Republic, such as dysentery and hepatitis, are acquired by consumption of contaminated food and water and that only purified water should be used for drinking, brushing your teeth as well as hand washing.
The problem however is that when staying at an all-inclusive holiday complex, holidaymakers are typically restricted to eating and drinking food and drink served at that complex. If the food or drink served at the hotel is below standard, unhygienic or contaminated with a bacterial bug then there is little that can be done to avoid it.
Tourists that choose to stay at an all-inclusive hotel will not typically budget for eating away from the hotel and many all-inclusive hotels in the Dominican Republic are built in isolated areas where leaving the hotel is not a viable option.
Some of the most common issues that are reported to us that we believe contribute to holiday illness in the Dominican Republic and around the world include:
- Cooking and washing salads using untreated water
- Providing food at unsafe temperatures
- Serving undercooked food
- Allowing cooked food to be contaminated by raw meat/poultry
- Providing dirty and untreated swimming pool water
Anyone that has suffered illness further to travelling abroad should seek medical attention as soon as possible so that any bacterial or parasitic infections can be identified and treated in an appropriate way.
We can assist holidaymakers that have been ill at the Dominican Republic by providing free advice and in many cases, by providing assistance on a “no win no fee” basis.